In American football, an official is a person who has responsibility in enforcing the rules and maintaining the order of the game. American football, known in the United States and Canada simply as football, is a competitive Team sport known for mixing strategy with
During professional and college football games, seven officials operate on the field. College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, Colleges and military academies Arena football, high school football, and other levels of football have other officiating systems. This article is about the sport of Arena Football See Arena Football (video game for the EA Sports Video game of the same name
American football officials are commonly referred to as referees, but each has a title based on their position. They consist of: Referee, Head Linesman, Line Judge, Umpire, Back Judge, Side Judge, and Field Judge. Because the referee is responsible for the general supervision of the game, the position is sometimes referred to as head referee. 
American football officials generally use the following equipment:
For ease of recognition, officials are traditionally clad in a black-and-white vertically striped shirt, white knickers with a black belt, black shoes, and a peaked cap. A letter indicating the role of each official appears on the back of the shirt at college and NFL levels. Shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, an American flag was added to the shirts of NFL officials. In 2006, the NFL completely redesigned the shirts, going to a sleeker-looking uniform which, however, no longer identified a given official's position from the front. Year 2006 ( MMVI) was a Common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. Also new for 2006 were black pants with a white stripe down the side to be worn in cold weather. These looser-fitting pants allow for layering of warmer clothes underneath.  The officials are colloquially called "zebras" due to their black-and-white striped shirts. Zebras are African Equids best known for their distinctive white and black stripes
For several decades, every NFL official wore white hats. In 1979, NFL referees started to wear black hats with white stripes, while every other NFL official continued to wear white ones. Year 1979 ( MCMLXXIX) was a Common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1979 Gregorian calendar) Finally, in 1988, the NFL switched to the high-school and college football style: the referee wears a white hat (which now includes the NFL logo, first added for Super Bowl XXXIX), and the other officials wear black hats with white stripes. College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, Colleges and military academies Super Bowl XXXIX was an American football game played on February 6, 2005, at ALLTEL Stadium in Jacksonville Florida, to decide
Officials' hats are also occasionally used as additional equipment. If a player not carrying the ball steps out of bounds (a wide receiver running a deep passing route or a player running downfield on punt coverage, for example), the official will drop his hat to mark the spot of where the player went out of bounds. A wide receiver is an offensive position in American and Canadian football The hat also is often used to signal a second foul called by the official on a play (by those officials that may carry only one flag); to indicate unsportsmanlike conduct committed against the official himself (as when a player shoves an official); or when some other situation requires a physical mark and the official has already used the ordinary item on the play. Unsportsmanlike conduct (or unsporting behaviour, or archaically ungentlemanly conduct) is a term used in many professional Sports to refer to a particular Some conferences discourage the use of the hat in these situations, and the bean bag will be used instead.
The NFL and College Football primarily use a seven-official system. The National Football League ( NFL) is the largest professional American football league. College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, Colleges and military academies
The referee (R) is responsible for the general supervision of the game and has the final authority on all rulings. Thus, this position is sometimes referred to as head referee and is considered to be the crew chief. He can be identified by his white cap, while the other officials wear black ones.
During each play from scrimmage, the referee positions himself behind the offensive team, favoring the right side (if the quarterback is a right-handed passer). A play from scrimmage is the activity of the games of Canadian football and American football during which one team tries to advance the ball or to score and the In American football, each team has 11 players on the field at one time Quarterback ( QB) is a position in American and Canadian football. He also counts offensive players.
On passing plays, he primarily focuses on the quarterback and defenders approaching him. The referee rules on possible roughing the passer and, if the quarterback loses the ball, determines whether it is a fumble or an incomplete pass.
On running plays, the referee observes the quarterback during and after he hands off the ball to the running back, remaining with him until the action has cleared just in case it is really a play action pass or some other trick passing play. A running back ( RB) is the position of a player on an American or Canadian football team who usually lines up in the offensive backfield. A play action pass is a type of American football play The play action or "PA" for short appears to be a running play but is actually a pass play in this way Afterwards, the Referee then checks the running back and the contact behind him.
During punts and field goals, the referee observes the kicker (and holder) and any contact made by defenders approaching them. A punt in some codes of football especially American football and Rugby football, is performed when the ball is A field goal (formerly "goal from the field" in US football and Canadian football is a goal that may be scored during general play ("from
In college football, the NFL and other professional leagues, and in some high school games, the referee announces penalties and the numbers of the players committing them (college and professional), and clarifies complex and/or unusual rulings over a wireless microphone to both fans and the media. College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, Colleges and military academies The National Football League ( NFL) is the largest professional American football league.
During instant replay reviews in the NFL and college football, the referee confers with a replay official, who is stationed in the press box above the field, on the play and then announces the final result over the wireless microphone. For other uses of the term "Instant replay" see Instant replay (disambiguation. For replays in the NFL, the referee also views the play on a monitor stationed near the sidelines and makes the final decision; the replay official makes the final judgment in college football.
In addition to the general equipment listed above, the referee also carries a coin in order to conduct the pregame (and if necessary, overtime) coin toss. Overtime is an additional period of play specified under the rules of a Sport in order to bring the game to a decision and avoid declaring the contest a tie or draw Coin flipping or coin tossing is the practice of throwing a Coin in the air to resolve a Dispute between two parties or otherwise choose between two alternatives
The umpire (U) stands behind the defensive line and linebackers, observing the blocks by the offensive line and defenders trying to ward off those blocks — looking for holding or illegal blocks. A defensive lineman is any of the down positions on the defensive side of Canadian and American football. In American football, each team has 11 players on the field at one time Lineman in American football. (See also American and Canadian football position names. Prior to the snap, he counts all offensive players.
During passing plays, he moves forward towards the line of scrimmage as the play develops in order to (1) penalize any offensive linemen who move illegally downfield before the pass is thrown or (2) penalize the quarterback for throwing the ball when beyond the original line of scrimmage. In American and Canadian football a line of scrimmage is an imaginary transverse line crossing the football field across its narrower dimension beyond Quarterback ( QB) is a position in American and Canadian football. He also assists on ruling incomplete passes when the ball is thrown short.
As the umpire is situated where much of the play's initial action occurs, he is considered by many to hold the most dangerous officiating position.
In addition to his on field duties, the umpire is responsible for the legality of all of the players' equipment.
The head linesman (H or HL) stands at one end of the line of scrimmage (usually the side opposite the press box), looking for possible offsides, encroachment and other fouls before the snap. As the play develops, he is responsible for judging the action near his sideline, including whether a player is out of bounds. During the start of passing plays, he is responsible for watching the receivers near his sideline to a point 5-7 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
He marks the forward progress of the ball and is in charge of the chain crew in regard to its duties. In American football, the chain crew (commonly known as the "chain gang" are assistants to the referee who handle the first down measuring chain and the In addition to the general equipment listed above, the head linesman also carries a chain clip that is used by the chain crew in order to properly place the chains and ensure an accurate spot when measuring for a first down.
The line judge (L or LJ) assists the head linesman at the other end of the line of scrimmage, looking for possible offsides, encroachment and other fouls before the snap. As the play develops, he is responsible for the action near his sideline, including whether a player is out of bounds. He is also responsible for counting offensive players.
During the start of passing plays, he is responsible for watching the receivers near his sideline to a point 5-7 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Afterwards, he moves back towards the line of scrimmage, ruling if a pass is forward, a lateral, or if it is illegally thrown beyond the line of scrimmage. In several forms of Football a forward pass is when the ball is thrown in the direction of the opponent's end line In American football a lateral pass or lateral, officially referred to as a backward pass, and an "onside pass" in Canadian football
On punts and field goal attempts, the line judge also determines whether the kick is made from behind the line of scrimmage.
In high school (four-man crews) and minor leagues, the line judge is the official timekeeper of the game. In the NFL, college and other levels of football where the official time is kept on the stadium scoreboard clock, the line judge becomes the backup timekeeper.
The field judge (F or FJ) works downfield behind the defensive secondary on the same sideline as the line judge. In American football and Canadian football, defensive backs are the players on the defensive team who take positions somewhat back from the line of scrimmage they He makes decisions near the sideline on his side of field, judging the action of nearby running backs, receivers and defenders. He rules on pass interference, illegal blocks downfield, and incomplete passes. He is also responsible for counting defensive players. He has sometimes also been the official timekeeper.
With the back judge, he rules whether field goal attempts are successful.
The side judge (S or SJ) works downfield behind the defensive secondary on the same sideline as the head linesman. Like the field judge, he makes decisions near the sideline on his side of field, judging the action of nearby running backs, receivers and defenders. He rules on pass interference, illegal blocks downfield, and incomplete passes. He also counts defensive players. During field goal attempts he serves as a second umpire.
In college football, the side judge is responsible for either the game clock or the play clock, which are operated by an assistant under his direction. A play clock (also called a delay-of-game timer is a timer designed to increase the pace (and subsequently the score in American football and Canadian football,
The back judge (B or BJ) stands deep behind the defensive secondary in the middle of the field, judging the action of nearby running backs, receivers (primarily the tight ends) and nearby defenders. He rules on pass interference, illegal blocks downfield, and incomplete passes. He covers the area of the field in between himself and the umpire. He has the final say regarding the legality of kicks not made from scrimmage (kickoffs).
With the field judge, he rules whether field goal attempts are successful.
In the NFL, the back judge is responsible for ruling a "delay of game" infraction if the play clock expires. In college football, the back judge is responsible for either the game clock or the play clock, which are operated by an assistant under his direction. A play clock (also called a delay-of-game timer is a timer designed to increase the pace (and subsequently the score in American football and Canadian football, In high school (five-man crews), the back judge is the official timekeeper of the game. The back judge is also the keeper of the play clock in high school games, and times the one minute allowed for time outs (only 30 seconds are allowed during team time outs during televised college games to reduce time).
Arena football, high school football, and other levels of football have other officiating systems. This article is about the sport of Arena Football See Arena Football (video game for the EA Sports Video game of the same name
When the NFL began play, only three officials (referee, umpire, head linesman) were used. The field judge was added in 1929, the back judge in 1947, the line judge in 1965 and the side judge in 1978. Year 1929 ( MCMXXIX) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Year 1947 ( MCMXLVII) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1947 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Year 1965 ( MCMLXV) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar of the 1965 Gregorian calendar. Year 1978 ( MCMLXXVIII) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1978 Gregorian calendar)
The practice of having the referee announce penalties or clarify complex and/or unusual rulings over a wireless microphone started in the NFL in 1975. The National Football League ( NFL) is the largest professional American football league. Year 1975 ( MCMLXXV) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. College football and other professional leagues soon adopted this practice. College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, Colleges and military academies
For years, college football referees were prohibited from announcing the number of a fouling player, except in the Mountain West Conference. The Mountain West Conference (or MWC) the youngest of the College athletic conferences affiliated with the NCAA ’s Division I FBS (I-A officially In 2004, the rules were changed throughout college football to permit the fouling player's number to be announced. "MMIV" redirects here For the Modest Mouse album see " Baron von Bullshit Rides Again "
Among the various Halls of Fame for major North American sports, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is unique in that it has not inducted any officials; the Baseball Hall of Fame, Basketball Hall of Fame and Hockey Hall of Fame have each inducted game officials as members. A hall of fame (sometimes HOF) is a type of Museum established for any a field of endeavor to honor individuals of noteworthy achievement in that field The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the Hall of fame of the National Football League (NFL The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, located in downtown Springfield Massachusetts, honors players who have shown exceptional skill at Basketball The Hockey Hall of Fame ( Temple de la renommée du hockey in French) is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Because their regular season spans only 17 weeks, the NFL is the only major sports league in the United States that only pays their officials on a contract basis as opposed to being full time salaried employees. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the Advantages to this system include being able to eliminate unqualified Officials simply by not offering them a contract the following season where terminating full time employees would require them to show cause. Critics argue that full-time officials would free them from the distractions of a second job, but proponents of part-time officials point out that the NFL would lose a number of qualified officials because many of them are owners, presidents, or C. E. O. s of various companies. Proponents also argue that there is only one game per week and the regular season is only 4 months long, and that having full-time officials does not necessarily guarantee that they will make fewer officiating mistakes. The level of training and review in which NFL officials participate makes additional time redundant. In any event, veteran officials can make quite substantial salaries for their work.